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Black Hat 2016: That’s a Wrap!

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Author: Ariel Novak, Vice President at PAN Communications, headshot
Ariel Burch NovakVice President, Cybersecurity

All week, we’ve been sharing updates from the floor at Black Hat as we’ve taken in the latest and greatest security research and learned about the hottest security trends. As the security industry travels back home today after a whirlwind week, here’s a roundup of just a few of the most interesting news from the show.

IoT Takes Center Stage

We predicted that the Internet of Things (IoT) would be a major theme at Black Hat. The Wall Street Journal noted that, “among the biggest looming problems are security vulnerabilities in internet-connected devices. Conference organizers say they received 50 proposals for talks related to hacking the internet of things, an unusually large number.” Black Hat didn’t disappoint.

Back at RSA Conference, hackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek demonstrated just how easy it is to hack any modern vehicle. And they were back at it at Black Hat, showing how far technology has come. They illustrated how reverse engineering could be used to “do new — and scarier — things, such as making the vehicle turn sharply while it was speeding down a country road. They also were able to make the vehicle unintentionally speed up, or remotely slam on its brakes,” according to ABC. Scary stuff.

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Apple Takes a Bite out of Bugs

Apple also made news, making a rare appearance at Black Hat and announcing a long-awaited bug bounty program which would provide payment to hackers who report bugs in its products. Similar programs have become common-place at many tech companies over the last several years, and the fact that Apple lacked a bug bounty program made recent headlines when the F.B.I. announced that it had paid hackers more than $1 million for a backdoor into Apple’s iPhone, earlier this year.

Security Gets Political

The “Hackers for Hillary” fundraiser, while not officially affiliated with Black Hat, coincided with the event in Las Vegas. The fundraiser focused on cyber policy issues, and was held in the wake of the DNC email hack controversy. CSO said about the fundraiser, “as far as we can tell, it’s a first for hacker conferences.” No matter which candidate you support, this shows just how important cyber-security issues are to the general public this election season.

Black Hat isn’t just about in-the-weeds security research anymore – from hacked Jeeps, to iPhones, to Presidential candidates – security has gone mainstream. And PAN was there every step of the way.

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